Kersal Moor, site of Salford City FC's Moor Lane ground, is the oldest sports venue in the country with all sorts of games being played there since the 12th Century, from nude male racing to archery. It boasted only the second golf course to be built out of Scotland in 1818, and was the site of the famous Kersal (Manchester) Racecourse where horse racing took place between 1687 and 1848.
Last night, horse racing returned to Kersal Moor – but before that began, Salford City fell at the final hurdle for the second time in a week. Having lost by a last minute header to high flying money bags Chorley in mid-week, this time it was Lancaster City's turn…
…The ridiculous five minute Fergie Time allowed by the referee was running down when he inexplicably gave a free kick to Lancaster near the edge of the penalty area and Lancaster sent all of their defensive giraffes up into the box.
First, Giraffe number 1 got its head to the ball, bringing a great save from Salford keeper, Andy Robertson, but Giraffe number 2 got its head to the rebound to equalise in the dying seconds.
Yet in the first half, Salford City were coasting, with Steve Foster forcing a Lancaster defender to hack the ball off the line, before Salford's top hit-man opened the scoring, tapping in from Rhodri Giggs' square ball after twenty minutes. The 1-0 lead was doubled shortly after when Foster, chasing a back pass, nicked the ball past the Lancaster keeper who clearly brought him down. Foster converted the penalty himself to make it 2-0.
Lancaster pulled a goal back on the break, Robertson saving the first attempt with his feet, only to see the rebound fall to a forward to score a goal that kept the Lancs giraffes in the game. It could have been 3-1 to Salford by the break, but Rhodri Giggs' cleverly taken free kick just curled past the post with the Lancaster keeper stood watching.
So, at half time it was 2-1 to Salford but this season - as assistant manager Danny Jones wrote in his programme notes - City seem incapable of dominating both halves. And so it proved, with Lancaster being allowed to come back into the game, dominating possession without having any clear shots at goal.
It seemed that Salford would hold on. But with the referee's help of five minutes injury time, plus a Lancaster free kick in the final seconds for no-one knows what, the giraffes pulled off that last gasp equaliser and went back to their crap castle happy.
Now Salford City face top of the table Chester away at the zoo, zoo, zoo on Wednesday night…and you can come too, too, too...
Racing Returns To Moor Lane…
Yep, it was 1848 that the last horse race took place on Kersal Moor but last night the sport of kings returned to the site of the famous old racetrack.
To raise money for the club, Salford City hosted a race night on the actual site of the original racecourse's final furlong. Okay, these days, there's a portakabin on there which is Salford City's clubhouse – and the horse racing was, er, on DVD but the excitement was certainly there!
Nine races took place, including The Moor Lane Chase (sponsored by IM Van Sales), The Great Escape Memorial Handicap (sponsored by the Star Inn Broughton), the Hospitality Stakes (sponsored by Scrantastic) and the Tangerine Army Gallop (sponsored by the Salford Branch of the Derry FC Supporters Club).
Salford City players, management and supporters owned horses with top names like Can I Have A Cig Gaffer (Mark Ayres), Peg Leg (Gareth Thomas) and Running In Rice Pudding (Martyn Andrews).
It was a great night that raised lots of money for the club, and we believe that there will now be regular race meetings at Moor Lane, as virtual horse racing returns to Kersal Moor!
Watch this space for details…
Photos by Andrew Goudie